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American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) president C. Christopher Patton, CSP, said February 10 that the organization is saddened by the loss of Chris Walters, an ASSE member since 1981 who worked as a safety professional for more than 20 years. He was not only dedicated to protecting people, property and the environment, but to his wife, Fran, and their three children.
A resident of Florissant, Mo., Walters died February 7 in a power plant explosion in Middletown, Conn., where he was working as a contract safety manager.
“Chris was a very active member of ASSE, a fellow St Louis Chapter member, and respected safety professional,” Patton said. “He was a great volunteer in the chapter, well liked by everyone, and will be sorely missed.”
Walters had master degrees in safety management and occupational safety and health. He had served as a volunteer in the ASSE St. Louis Chapter for several years, and, to continue his commitment to the profession he transferred his ASSE membership to the local Nutmeg chapter when he took the job in Connecticut, where he continued to be very active.
“As occupational safety and health professionals we work every day to make sure that workers, our co-workers, leave work injury and illness free,” Patton continued. “That’s what Chris has been doing for more than 20 years. It goes far beyond compliance, as safety professionals must inspire commitment from their leadership and integrate safety into business’ strategic and sustainability plans.”
A recent Central Missouri State University (CMSU) alumni magazine featured Walters in a story for his work in the construction of the new Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis stating, “Hunt Construction credits CMSU graduates Chris Walters, safety manager, and his assistant Joe Enright, for helping establish one of the best safety programs in the industry. The company’s lost-time injury rate building Busch Stadium was 82 percent below the national average. Their dedication to safety helped the $344 million-plus project stay on schedule and on budget with barely any loss due to incidents.”
For that project, Walters estimated that it took about 2.5 million hours of labor to build the stadium, which was built from October 2005 until April 10, 2006.
“We are all deeply saddened by Chris’ death,” Patton said. “Because of people like Chris, millions of workers in the U.S. go to work and leave work injury and illness free every day. We salute Chris for all he has done the past 20 years as a dedicated safety and health professional and will honor his memory, especially in St. Louis where he touched so many lives.”
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, Ill.-based ASSE has more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members who lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information, visit www.asse.org.